Here's the thing about what I did tonight. I went to a fundraiser for women who have survived breast cancer. Let me repeat. I went to a fundraiser for women who have survived breast cancer. I went as the invite of my parents' neighbor and my childhood neighbor who fought and beat breast cancer a year ago. It was scary the day my mom called me and told me our neighbor had cancer. Scarier more when my mom called later and told me my aunt did too. Cancer sucks. We all know that. It isn't a mystery. It isn't something only some of us care about fighting. But sometimes I forget that my problem of not getting paid enough, or not having a program go exactly how I want it to, or getting yelled at because someone's wrong ad got posted on the wrong day, isn't that big of an issue.
I know based on a TED talk I've watched in the past year, that comparing your pain or suffering or grief to someone else's doesn't really make sense. No one gets to say that some pain is more difficult to go through than others. No one gets to claim hardship as their own. No one gets to be "more sad" than someone else. Everyone is going through their own thing.
But here's the thing about sitting through a night where people with breast cancer talk about their struggle or their survival: Life has a different perspective if you could possibly die.
In my every day life things go wrong. Things are annoying. Things are frustrating. I'm not going to die. I tell my team all the time when they get fired up: We're not curing cancer. We aren't. These women tonight, they were fighting it.
Nights like tonight put that in perspective. They also remind me that I at least have emotions. Sometimes I forget they are there. I have to hold them back. I have to be strong because there's no one to catch me. I have to make sure I'm good on my own. Tonight, I couldn't help it.
Our family friend started strutting down that runway and my eyes welled up. I was both proud of her for beating cancer and terrified that she might not have. I'm not sure where those tears came from, and boy, did I try and fight them, but they were still there. A reminder that I still feel, even when I try not to. A reminder that nothing, no matter what I'm going through, is as bad as it could be, no matter what perspective you look at it from.